Youssef Chahine, 1926-2008

Chahine himself and Hind Rostom in <i>Cairo Station</i>

Chahine himself and Hind Rostom in Cairo Station

On July 27, Arab Cinema lost its premier director, Youssef Chahine, who died aged 82 in Cairo. It was good to see obituaries in print and online. A detailed and informative obit by Sheila Whitaker appeared in the Guardian on July 28. Visit the ‘official’ site at http://www.youssefchahine.us/

It seems a long time since I watched Chahine’s most famous early film, Cairo Station (Egypt 1958) so I must dig out the videotape. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find DVDs of his later films (in fact, any of his films) in the UK, but I did find a Region 1 DVD of An Egyptian Story (1982) at a reasonable price on Amazon and I’ll try to review it when it arrives. In the last few years, we’ve lost Sembène Ousmane and Gillo Pontecorvo – also very badly served by DVDs in the UK, forcing dedicated cineastes to search for American or French editions – with attendant problems of Region coding and subtitling. UK DVD distribs please note.

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